Sharjah, October 27
Mandeep Singh scored a match-winning 66 two days after losing his father and Kings XI Punjab skipper KL Rahul feels the mental toughness shown by the opener has rubbed off on the entire squad.
Mandeep made an unbeaten 66 against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday night to help KXIP record five wins in a row.
The opening batsman, playing in the absence of injured Mayank Agarwal, lost his father last week and attended his funeral via a video call.
“It’s so hard when you are away from your family. With the bubble, you don’t have the close ones. The kind of toughness he (Mandeep) has shown has rubbed off on other boys as well. The way he played today, it makes everyone emotional. He’s gone through a rough time, just to put his hand up, be there and finish the game for the team would make him proud and make his father proud,” Rahul said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
With wrist-spinners Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi bowling well in tandem, Rahul said the credit for that went to head coach Anil Kumble.
“When you have Anil Kumble as the coach, it’s not surprising that we are playing with two leg-spinners. It’s something that he had in his mind even before the IPL started. He always kept telling me that towards the second half or at some point that two leg-spinners is always an aggressive option,” he said.
KXIP have won all their games since Chris Gayle returned to the side after sitting out in the first half of the tournament.
“It was a very hard decision not to play him (Chris) because he was batting really well. This is the hungriest I have ever seen him in the last seven to eight years that I have played with him. He is running his ones and twos, so that’s refreshing.
“He’s always positive, always pushing the youngsters. It’s great to have someone with that much experience,” said the skipper.
KKR captain Eoin Morgan rued the lack of partnerships during their innings, save the one between him and Shubman Gill.
“Disappointed with the partnerships, thought we could have scored more (runs). When we were three down, we wanted a partnership going,” Morgan said.
“Around 180-190 would have been a good score, but we kept losing wickets. That’s one of the challenges this year, going from ground to ground,” he added. PTI